What is Attitudinal Segmentation?

What is Attitudinal Segmentation?

Attitudinal segmentation is the grouping of customers into target groups, based on shared attitudes – what individuals think and how they feel.

Attitudinal segments are useful because although two individuals may appear to be similar in terms of demographics and behaviour, they may hold very different attitudes to each other. Attitudes are also important to consider as part of segmentation, as they be used to craft communications or messaging that is more persuasive with the target market.

 

When to use Attitudinal Segmentation

Understanding attitudes can help businesses to create products, services and communication that will appeal to the different groups within their target audience. It can also be useful in determining who the target audience should be – which segment of customers is likely to be a good fit for a particular product, service or business.

Attitudinal segmentation works best when employed in conjunction with other types of segmentation inputs. For example, combining attitudes with other variables such as demographics can help to “flesh out” a segment, giving it more description and character.

What is Attitudinal Segmentation?

 

Questions to use for Attitudinal Segmentation

Market researchers often use specific types of survey questions to uncover the attitudes of respondents. This might, for example, involve asking the survey participant to respond to a statement such as “I try to look for environmentally sustainable options”. Responses to questions like these are then provided on an agree-disagree scale (also known as a “Likert” scale).

Here are some further examples of questions that could be used for attitudinal segmentation purposes:

  • Motivations:
    • Why do you…?
  • Opinions:
    • What do you think of…?
  • Purchase criteria:
    • What is the most important consideration when buying…?
  • Supplier / brand evaluation:
    • How do you rate…?
    • Which is best (or worst) for…?
  • Agree-disagree questions:
    • Do you agree or disagree…?

In addition to asking individuals directly about their opinions, more complex techniques can also be used to elicit deeper-lying (or sub-conscious) opinions or associations that might be held. One such technique for achieving this is the Implicit Association Test (or IAT).

 

Attitudinal Segmentation Analysis

Attitudinal segments are typically formed through multivariate analytical techniques, such as cluster analysis. In summary, this is a method for defining sub-categories of a population whose survey responses exhibit similar answer patterns: Those within the same category (or segment) would share similar attitudes, while customers across different segments would tend to have different attitudes.

The market researcher may need to be very selective in terms of which “inputs” are used for attitudinal segmentation analysis. It is highly unlikely that large groups of the population will agree on any more than just a few attitudes or opinions. Where a long list of “agree-disagree” statements has been asked in a survey, factor analysis can be a useful technique for uncovering the underlying attitudes that exist.

 

How Attitudes can be used

The ability to target groups in the market based on what they think and how they feel can lead to a distinct competitive advantage for organisations. Understanding what motivates specific groups of people can help to inform a powerful communication strategy, and help to deliver a product or experience that properly addresses unmet needs. While this has been recognised to be true in consumer markets for some time, b2b marketers are now realising the role that emotions play in business-to-business decision making.

How attitudinal segmentation can be used

It is important to remember that attitudes can change over time, so attitudinal segmentation of a particular market will need to be revisited in order to ensure it remains a true representation. The relative volatility of attitudinal segments may also need to be borne in mind when implementing and executing a segmentation strategy.